Unit 731 Essay Research Paper A war

Unit 731 Essay, Research Paper

A war is a form of violence and terror. However, some

countries go a deal more than that. For example, the

Iraq army carried out a sneak attack for which was

criticized by the Western countries. The army took out

nearly the whole army and also killed a number of

innocent civilians. The Nazis also had gassed and

murdered millions of innocent Jew people and was

widely criticized.

Japans biological experiments during the second world

war is another example of a country going a good deal

beyond of just creating violence and terror. The event

showed that Japan created a program in which it

planned to develop biological weapons and how live

human beings were being used as guinea pigs. But

beyond that, what were the causes and practices of the

experiments of Unit 731?

The following pages analyze what the causes and

practices of the experiments by Unit 731. First they

explain the situation in which Japan was at that point

of the war. Then they present what led the Japanese

army into conducting biological experiments on live

humans and what they hoped to achieve in doing this.

Finally, they show the practices of the biological


At that time of the war, there was a international

convention in Geneva which is known as the Geneva

Convention. At this convention, it was governed that

during warfare’s, countries must ban biological

weapons from their list. Japan reacts to this by

refusing to approve this treaty.(Fujita) This

convention took place in 1925 which is 7 years before

the actual biological experiments of Unit 731 actually

took place. That shows that the Japanese Army had been

planning the project of experiments years before it

took place. The experiments took place from 1932 to

1945. In the year that it begun, 1932, The Japanese

Army had invaded Manchuria after the Mukden Incident

had taken place.(Kublin 162) When the army took

control of Manchuria, they sent a man called Shiro

Ishii, a physician and army officer who studied germ

warfare, to begin experiments. To fully understand why

Unit 731 was organized, this one man holds the whole

key to the answer.(Anonymous)

Born to a wealthy and rich land owner, Shiro had a

promising future

Shirako 2

laid out of him. After entering the Medicine

Department in Kyoto University,

he started and steadily began to build up a tenacity

toward “winning”. After entering the Japanese army as

a doctor, his tenacity toward winning slowly turned

toward a weapon. A weapon that would be able to kill

thousands of people. A weapon that used his field.

That was the biological weapon.(Nihon Television)

Lacking the sources and riches that were needed to

lead Japan to victory, Shiro Ishii began to get ready

for the biological experiments. He also needed to have

knowledge of biological weapons which he couldn’t do

by himself. So, in 1936, Unit 731, a biological

warfare unit which was disguised as a water

purification unit, is formed.(Fujita) In order to

conduct these experiments, they needed “guinea pigs”.

The Japanese Army arrested Chinese, Korean, Russian,

and Mongolian people for minor crimes and then send

them to Unit 731 to be used as test subjects which was

known as “logs” by the researchers and technicians.

Under the slogan, The Road To Victory, elite

researchers eventually become overwhelmed by the

madness of these experiments and slowly turn into

devils. Seven years later, another elite researcher,

Yasuo Akimoto, who becomes famous after these events,

is sent down to Manchuria and is horrified by these

experiments but could not overcome the slogan and

eventually becomes a member of the unit,

731.(Anonymous 2)

The practices that took place were both big and huge

requiring a large amount of land. Ishii first formed a

huge compound which consisted of more than 150

buildings over 6 square kilometers near the city of

Harbin. This was the headquarters and eventually 9000

people die here. It comprised of over 3000 researchers

and technicians. It was a huge research just focused

on biological weaponry.(Anonymous 2) The experiments

were divided into a number of branches. First, there

was a branch in which was based upon vivisection. This

branch was used for practicing the numerous ways of

surgery. The vivisection had a number of stages.

First, they would do an appendectomy upon the patient

which was the excision of the vermiform appendix or

cutting off the appendix. The next stage was as

amputation of a arm or a leg. Finally, they would do a

excision or cut open the trachea. When they finished

practicing, they would kill the patient with a lethal

injection. This brach also contained other researches.

To study how fast ailments or diseases would spread,

they locked up diseased people with healthy people.

They also put people into pressure chambers to

determine how much

Shirako 3

pressure the human body can withstand. Probably the

most infamous research done by this branch was

determining the treatment of frostbite. Prisoners were

taken outside into freezing temperatures and left

there with their legs and arms exposed. The

researchers would then periodically drench the exposed

areas with water until the exposed areas give out a

sound that resembles a board when it’s stuck. Not only

were these done to prisoners, but they were also done

on children.(Fujita)

Prisoners were also taken to a place called Anda

where they were tied up to stakes. Then they would be

bombarded with biological weapons to see how many died

and how effective it was. Planes would either spray

the area with the new plague or either drop bombs

which had infected fleas in them.(Fujita) The Japanese

Army conducted these tests periodically on many areas

of China such as Ningbo in Eastern China and Changde

in North China. It is also known that the food and

water also contained such diseases.(Harris 75)

Finally as the war came to a ending, Unit 731

released all the plague infected animals it had thus

creating a disaster in China. It caused outbreaks that

killed at least 30,000 people from 1946 to 1948.( But

even after the war, all the chemical weapons were

dumped into the Nen River and then were buried in a

remote county.(Fujita) It is estimated that 700,000 to

2,000,000 chemical bombs still lie in that area.

Experts say that it is Asia’s most dangerous dump

today and that a accidental explosion there would kill

everything within a 200 kilometer radius.(Kannsaki)

Works Cited

Harris, Sheldon H. FACTORIES OF DEATH. 1994. New York:

Routledge, 1994.

Littell, McDougal. WRITING: RESEARCH PAPERS. Illinois:

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.

Anonymous. “Unit 731.” Shitteru Tsumori. Mar. 5, 2000.



Unit 731 And The Events Surrounding It. Screenplay by

Shitteru Tsumori. Dir. Shitteru Tsumori. Perf.

Shitteru Tsumori. Nihon Television, 2000.

McCulloch, Scott D. “Biological Warfare and the

Implications of Biotechnology.” Biological

Warfare. Online.

http://www.calpolyedu/ drjones/biowar-b.html

Kannsaki, Takashi. “731″ E-mail to Hiroshi Shirako.

Dec. 20, 2000.

Fujita, Hiroshi. Dec. 11, 2000. Online. AIM.

Anonymous 2. “Germ Warfare Timeline.” Germ Warfare.

Aug. 13, 1995. Online.


Kublin, Michael. JAPAN. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Company, 1990.


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